I never expected to love the Ace Attorney series quite as I have done, but the detective / visual novel / lawyer / all-round bonkers series of games hit all the right notes like few other games have. I recently did a post about the original trilogy (I’ve linked it below), but now after having played all of the games I can give a complete view of the whole series. How would I rank the 8 fantastic games?
8 – Ace Attorney Investigations
The Investigations games have the same sort of idea as the main series, but focussing on the investigation dynamic gives it a whole new feel. I don’t think they nailed it the first time, and the whole experience just feels empty.
I’ll try and rank each case of the game, and also rank them relative to the whole series (e.g. “20” means it’s the 20th best case out of 40 cases total). I’ll also give a little summary of each case and why I ranked it where it is. (The colour scheme matches my grading system, check out my HOME page if you need a refresher).
If I were to rank the cases:
38 – Turnabout Visitor
The first case in the game has to be one of the most boring and bland tutorial cases ever. A murder in a prosecutor’s office is hardly exciting, and furthermore the all-important investigation stages are extremely dull.
34 – Turnabout Airlines
The second case in the game isn’t much better, but at least the murder on an airplane mid-flight is kind of intriguing.
31 – Turnabout Ablaze
Easily the weakest finale show-stopper case in the franchise. It’s a bit bland throughout, and the final confrontation majorly overstays its welcome.
29 – The Kidnapped Turnabout
Case 3 was the first case that I actually enjoyed, mainly due to the introduction of characters like Agent Lang and Kay Faraday. The rest of the characters are a bit annoying and forgettable though.
19 – Turnabout Reminiscence
This felt like the only case in the game where the developers actually tried to tell a compelling story that took risks. The double murder is what sets this apart from the rest, and I do love a good flashback (but there’s a much better flashback case in Investigations 2).
7 – Apollo Justice
Of all the main series games, I think I can comfortably say Apollo Justice is the worst. It’s not a bad game at all, it just doesn’t hit the heights of the other Ace Attorney games.
37 – Turnabout Corner
One of the most filler Ace Attorney cases ever conceived, this story just does nothing for me. A boring crime with a boring outcome.
32 – Turnabout Serenade
Slightly better due to the musical theme (and Klavier is an awesome prosecutor), but like “Turnabout Corner” this feels a bit filler to me. These middle two cases are partly why I consider this to be the worst game in the main series.
23 – Turnabout Trump
Credit where credit is due, this is actually a really good opening case to the game, and it might even be the best opening case in terms of pure drama and impact to the overall story.
21 – Turnabout Succession
A very good conclusion to the story that was set up in “Turnabout Trump”, but admittedly quite weak in comparison to the other finales. The other five main games end on the best case of their respective games, but “Turnabout Succession” wasn’t really the show-stopping conclusion I was hoping for.
6 – Justice For All
I’d say there is a big step up in terms of my enjoyment with the games from this point on, and I had a blast playing through “Justice For All”. There are a couple of weak cases though, so if 2/4 cases are sub-par then it would be ridiculous to put this anywhere higher than “Good” (even if the other two cases are phenomenal).
40 – Turnabout Big Top
Yep, out of all 40 cases this is the worst. It’s not necessarily a bad gaming experience, but this is easily the most “meh” of the lot. The circus setting just gets annoying after a while, and since characters are the heart of Ace Attorney it’s not very fun talking to all the infuriatingly over-the-top witnesses.
35 – The Lost Turnabout
I understand that the writers had to come up with some way to teach the basics to the player without making Phoenix look like an amateurish idiot, but giving him amnesia was downright insulting. The opening case of “Trials and Tribulations” handled the tutorial level dynamic much better.
9 – Reunion, and Turnabout
This should have just been a simple, filler second case to the game, but it ended up being one of my favourite non-finale cases of the series. The setup with Maya getting framed is one of the best case openings in the series, and when you find out the true meaning of the crime it gets quite emotional.
3 – Farewell, My Turnabout
I would completely understand if you thought this was the best Ace Attorney case – it doesn’t set a foot wrong, and all of the twists and turns in the plot make for one of the most intense final cases ever. I don’t really have a reason as to why this isn’t number 1 or 2, just that I like the other two cases better.
5 – Dual Destinies
I was slightly hesitant going into Dual Destinies, as Apollo Justice hadn’t exactly blown my socks off. The other detractor was the updated graphics, as I was worried the spirit of the games might not resonate with me as well.
Luckily, the updated graphics allow for some great character moments, and the overarching story is one of the best in the series.
39 – The Monstrous Turnabout
Other than “Turnabout Big Top”, this is the only case in the main series that I’m closer to disliking than liking. There are definitely some good moments, but this has to be one of the stupidest murders / plots in the entire franchise, and it doesn’t help that a lot of the witnesses are annoying as hell.
25 – Turnabout Countdown
A really nice opening case that is a lot more intense and meaningful than your average tutorial level, and it was great to see Phoenix back in action in the courtroom.
17 – Turnabout Academy
I have a feeling this case was a direct response to the Case 3 curse (where case 3 is usually the worst of its respective game, like “Turnabout Big Top”), as this is one of the craziest filler cases in the series.
13 – The Cosmic Turnabout
It feels weird having this as its own case, since its plot is intrinsically linked to the finale case, but if I’m taking it on its own merits then “The Cosmic Turnabout” is definitely a top case for pure drama alone.
11 – Turnabout Reclaimed (DLC Case)
My expectations were non-existent for this seemingly inconsequential DLC case about a whale murder, so it was easy for my proverbial socks to be blown right off for how heartfelt and surprisingly dramatic this case actually was.
5 – Turnabout For Tomorrow
This case followed straight on from “The Cosmic Turnabout”, and the drama is ramped up to 11. I was desperate to uncover the true identity of The Phantom, and the final showdown did not disappoint.
4 – Spirit Of Justice
I had a really hard time deciding between Spirit of Justice and Dual Destinies, and on paper the latter had the better cases. I think I like Spirit of Justice just a little bit more though, as the story was one of the most emotional, personal sagas in the franchise.
36 – Turnabout Storyteller
Possibly the most filler case than ever fillered.
30 – Turnabout Time Traveller (DLC Case)
This is actually a pretty decent story, and it’s great to see the OG gang back together, but I think I was a bit burnt out from the Ace Attorney series after the crazy final case of Spirit of Justice, so I never really gave this case the time of day when I played through it.
24 – The Rite of Turnabout
I wouldn’t be surprised if most people thought this was just an average “OK” filler case, and for me it was – until the final reveal of what truly transpired. I love how dramatic the logic-inside-Phoenix’s-head portion of the game is, and having it at the end of every case is why I really like Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice.
22 – The Magical Turnabout
Once again, this is a filler case that I wouldn’t be surprised if people weren’t huge fans of, but this is kind of a guilty pleasure case for me. I’ve always loved seeing the truth behind a magician’s trick, so I guess this case appealed to the my inner magician.
20 – The Foreign Turnabout
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new strange land, but “The Foreign Turnabout” ended up being a great introduction to the game and the new testimony mechanic of reliving the victim’s final moments (even if some of the later cases didn’t quite nail this mechanic).
6 – Turnabout Revolution
This was the culmination of 4 cases of storytelling (or 3 if you ignore “Turnabout Storyteller), and my goodness did it pay off. Apollo is the true MVP of this case, and probably of the entire game – his character arc is one of the most well-crafted and emotional of the whole series, and this case also has one of the most shocking twists I’ve ever seen. Ever.
3 – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
The first game in the series holds up extremely well, and it was unbelievably painful putting this only in third place. All of the cases in this have become iconic, and I still find it hard to believe they nailed the detective investigation / courtroom drama format first time.
33 – The First Turnabout
It’s good for what it is (a tutorial level in a completely new type of videogame), but it hardly stands up to the rest of the series in terms of pure drama. Still, iconic as hell.
26 – Turnabout Sisters
Without delving into spoilers, the opening of this case is so unexpected I doubt anyone had any idea it would happen (sorry for the vagueness but oh well). The actual case is kind of standard by Ace Attorney standards, but it was cool from an early stage seeing the writers take risks.
14 – Turnabout Samurai
A lot of people would call this a weak (or relatively weak to the rest of the game) case, but I’d disagree. This was the case that truly made me fall in love with the franchise, so I’ll always owe “Turnabout Samurai” greatly for that.
8 – Rise from the Ashes
An absolutely phenomenal case that suffers from being much too long at the start. If it wasn’t for the first day or two being so slow paced, this would be up there will some of the all-time great cases.
2 – Turnabout Goodbyes
I was all in after “Turnabout Samurai”, but “Turnabout Goodbyes” blew my socks off like few games had ever done. The audacity of the story to go where it does whilst hitting all of the emotional payoffs is why the Ace Attorney series ranks among some of my favourite games ever.
2 – Ace Attorney Investigations 2
The difference between this and Investigations 1 is night and day. Big Daddy Edgeworth returns again, but this time the overarching story is one of the best in the series, and the cases are the most consistently great of the franchise. I didn’t connect with this on an emotional level quite like the number 1 entry, so it can only take the silver medal.
18 – The Imprisoned Turnabout
Yep, the “worst” case is still a bloody good one. The prison setting allowed for some fantastic witnesses, and the direct relation to case 1 really impressed me during my playthrough.
16 – Turnabout Target
An extremely solid first case that is already better than every case from the first Investigations. Everything in this opening case is important and feeds into the rest of the game up to the finale, and that’s part of the reason why I love Investigations 2 so much.
10 – The Forgotten Turnabout
This should have been sort of filler like “The Imprisoned Turnabout”, but the amnesia plotline is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I was impressed with how the writers handled such a risky, game-changing moment – I’ll use this time to say how unbelievably awesome the writing in this game is, it’s probably the best in the entire series.
7 – The Grand Turnabout
The finale case didn’t disappoint, and the revelation of the mastermind was some fantastic storytelling. Bonus points for somehow leaving no stone unturned and explaining every single goddamn thing that happens in previous cases so concisely, it kind of annoys me how perfectly they executed this game.
4 – The Inherited Turnabout
Big Daddy Edgeworth got a run for his money when I was introduced to the real Daddy Edgeworth – this is a flashback case that perfectly intertwines with the present day case, and once again the writers execute it flawlessly.
If you’re a fan of the Ace Attorney games and you’re on the fence whether to play the Investigations spinoffs, I promise the 2nd game is worth grinding through the first entry for.
1 – Trials and Tribulations
The original Phoenix Wright game was a masterclass in storytelling, but somehow “Trials and Tribulations” manages to trump the original in almost every way. The story has more stakes, the characters are the best they’ve ever been, and most importantly ever single case was incredibly fun to play.
Why is it number 1 over Investigations 2 when that game had the better cases overall? I was more emotionally attached to this one – Godot is my favourite prosecutor (other than Edgeworth maybe), and Phoenix’s presence just edges this one out. Sorry Big Daddy Edgeworth and your Investigations shenanigans.
28 – Recipe for Turnabout
A delightful filler case with some good moments, but it only really just scrapes into the “good tier” due to some stupid plot moments and annoying witnesses. (Notice how “Trials and Tribulations” is the only game with no “meh” cases, I genuinely consider every case to be at least good).
27 – The Stolen Turnabout
I sort of see “The Stolen Turnabout” and “Recipe for Turnabout” as the same thing, since they’re both equally as good. I think “The Stolen Turnabout” has a more interesting story, so it just comes out in front.
15 – Turnabout Memories
Probably the strongest opening case we’ll ever get in the series, as it doesn’t hold back from the juicy plot points that will come into play much later in the game. Shout-out to Dahlia for being one of the most evil characters in the series.
12 – Turnabout Beginnings
The true weight of “Turnabout Memories” was revealed in the penultimate case “Turnabout Beginnings”, and we can finally see how evil Dahlia truly is. The ending of the case is gut-wrenching, and Diego Armando is one of the coolest characters I’ve ever seen.
1 – Bridge to the Turnabout
It all came down to this, and my expectations were exceeded and then some. Everything from the past 3 games gets its own payoff, and Godot! Without delving into too many spoilers, this case alone might make Godot my favourite character in the series (his theme tune is definitely one of the best). One of my favourite gaming experiences of all time.
Aaand that’s my list. This one took a while, so if you’ve never played the Ace Attorney games then check them out for goodness sake!
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